Hindustan Times, October 12, 2010

To protect the rights of consumers in the financial sector, activist bodies have urged governments of 150-odd nations to form expert groups at the G20 Summit due in November. Consumer organisations headed by Consumers International have written to different governments to take urgent action to protect consumers of financial services.

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International), an Indian-origin advocacy organisation, has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to set up an expert group to protect consumers in the financial sector.

“Consumers of financial services are exposed to high risks and there’s no law to protect them from any kind of loss due to failure in company shares, bank deposits, insurance policies etc. We’re advocating for such groups across nations for better regulation and practices,” said Pradeep S. Mehta, secretary-general, CUTS International.

The experts group would create and recommend adoption of minimum standards relating to fair contract terms and charges for financial products and services; information design and disclosure on financial products; and the governance and functions of national financial consumer protection bodies.

“The group should make recommendations for promotion of effective competition in markets for financial consumer services and development of a permanent organisation for international standard-setting and coordination with regard to financial consumer protection,” Mehta said.

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